What is Silhouette Photography?
According to Adobe, “A silhouette is a solid, dark image of a subject against a brighter background. Silhouette pictures usually show the subject in profile. The first silhouettes originated in 1850s France as a cheaper alternative to having a portrait painted. These silhouettes were paintings, sketches, and paper cutouts. But today they are more likely to be made with cameras than with heavy paper.” Most silhouette photographs show dark outlines of subjects placed in front of brighter colors – these could be in natural settings (most common being sunsets) or artificially created using backdrops in studios.
Suggested Read: How I Got The Shot | Silhouettes With Bradley Images
Silhouette Photos by ShootDotEdit Customers
1. Looyenga Photography
As a wedding photographer, besides you couples, you may also have a deep love and appreciation for landscapes. And what better way to show that love than by combining your couples and beautiful landscapes? Silhouette wedding photography is a creative way to draw focus to human figures in a landscape shot while still emphasizing on the environment around them. And this visual masterpiece by ShootDotEdit customer Brent Looyenga is a great example of that. Even though the couple looks tiny in comparison to the backdrop, the photographer still manages to drive our attention to them instantly. To see more of Brent’s photography, check out his Instagram and Facebook.
2. Brian Bossany Photography
Even though the couple is not completely dark, in this shot, ShootDotEdit customer Brian Bossany proves that even the simplest of compositions can make for beautiful silhouette photos. The background lights almost add a bokeh effect to this photograph, which enhances the overall appeal of this image. Away from the rest of the guests, this photo gives the couple a memory they would be able to cherish years later. And for a memory that’s captured this beautifully, who wouldn’t want to revisit this moment? For more inspiration for gorgeous silhouette shots, check out Brian’s Instagram and Facebook.
3. Diane Nicole Photography
Silhouette wedding photography is not all about the great outdoors. In this photograph, ShootDotEdit customer Diane Clifford of Diane Nicole Photography proves that you don’t have to scout for scenic mountain tops or beautiful lakes to create silhouette photographs. Even a simple moment between the bride and groom caught as a silhouette can make an ordinary picture extraordinary. The light coming in from the door behind that couple gives the perfect lighting situation for indoor silhouette photography. To see more of her amazing work, head to Diane’s Instagram and Facebook.
4. Jorge Santiago Photography
Wow! Just look at this composition! We can’t decide what we are obsessed with – the sky, the perfect silhouette of the bride and groom, or the veil flowing in the air. ShootDotEdit customer Jorge Santiago nails the art of silhouette wedding photography by bringing a whole lot of drama to this photograph. For more inspiring silhouette photos, check out Jorge’s Instagram and Facebook.
5. Robb McCormick Photography
Instead of lighting your subject from the front, silhouette photography requires you to shine the light on your subject from the back. While most silhouette photographs feature subjects posed in front of glorious sunsets, even this artificially lit image by ShootDotEdit customer Robb McCormick is a strong contender. If you can’t include natural lighting in your silhouette photos, then you can play with different types of lighting and see which ones suit your style and tone. The theatrically posed couple also complements the vibe of this image. To see more of Robb’s gorgeous work, check out his Instagram and Facebook.
6. Salt And Pine Photo
Distance makes the silhouette look better? ShootDotEdit customers Joe and Darryl Ann Geske sure know the importance of finding the perfect lighting and angles when it comes to silhouette photography. Between the colors on the horizon, the ocean, and the dark shadows of the tree, the couple still manages to catch our eye! To check out more of Joe and Darryl Ann’s breathtaking photos, explore their Instagram and Facebook.
7. David N. Sachs Photography
Sweeping architecture photographs will always remain a fan favorite. But add the aspect of silhouette wedding photos to it, and you easily enhance the overall look of your image. For example, in this image, ShootDotEdit customer David N. Sachs did a fantastic job by adding his couple right in the center of the composition. Even though there is more lighting than usual in this silhouette photo, the outline is still relatively crisp. To see more images like these, head to David’s Instagram and Facebook.
8. Amy Bennett Photography
Silhouette photographs and wide-open spaces have a special place in our hearts. ShootDotEdit customer Amy Bennett hardly ever disappoints. We can’t keep our eyes off this photograph which includes almost every element of nature. We especially love the crisp outline of the couple in this photograph. Moreover, the contrast between the huge trees makes the couple stand out even more. To see more of her work, head to Amy’s Instagram and Facebook.
Quick Tips to Get the Best Silhouette Wedding Photos
If you are feeling inspired and thinking about experimenting with this style of photography, below are some basic steps you should keep in mind as you set out to master the art of silhouette wedding photography.
1. Shoot Against the Light
Silhouette photography is all about getting the right lighting. You can successfully create a silhouette effect only when the light source is placed behind your couple. The outline will be even better with little to no light in front of them. To get that crisp silhouette shot with a clear outline, you simply need a backlight and the right camera settings. A strong contrast between your background and your couple is what will lead to a picture-perfect silhouette. Whether you are photographing in a studio or outdoors, turn off any flashes on your camera and, if possible, move away from any other light source that might interfere with your silhouette shot.
2. Stay Away From Clutter
Even though many of the above photographs have several elements in them, the photographers made sure that nothing interfered with the outlines of their couples. Keeping the area around the couple clutter-free will allow you to easily get that crisp outline, which is the essence of a great silhouette shot. That is why sunsets tend to be the prime time for this style of photography. The colors beautifully blend into each other, and the sky offers a stunning, clutter-free backdrop.
3. Find Your Position
Don’t be afraid of moving around when you experiment with silhouettes. Many photographers tend to move far away from their couples as they work with this style of photography. This gives them the freedom to explore different angles and ensure that they are getting the most of what nature has to offer if they are outdoors. Depending on what is around you, you could follow the same formula if you are experimenting with this style indoors.
4. Pay Attention to Outlines
When you photograph your couple’s silhouette, the outline can make a huge difference. As you try to make the best possible silhouettes of your couples, you will start noticing that even small details like the position of their hair or fingers can have an impact on your image. As evident from the photographs above, try to avoid having your couple stand too close to each other. Leaving some space between them will accentuate their outline, and naturally, the focus.
5. Switch Between Automatic & Manual Modes
If you are selecting auto mode for silhouette photography, point your camera to the brightest point of your composition and push the trigger down halfway. Then, point your camera back at your couple and finish taking your photo. Depending on what camera you use, this method will result in a silhouette photo. Alternatively, if you are shooting silhouette pictures in manual mode, set your exposure to properly expose the background. This should leave your couple underexposed or simply show their outline.
Silhouettes can be challenging to capture in the beginning. But just like many other things about wedding photography – don’t give up and keep practicing. So, don’t be afraid of experimenting. This style of photography is great for when you want to add some drama to your couple’s story. It’s also a perfect way to break away from the classic wedding photographs to something more unique. So, find ways to perfect your lighting, chase those breathtaking sunsets (or create something equally stunning in a studio) and shoot away with your couples.
At ShootDotEdit, we try our best to offer you tips and tricks on improving your skills or adding new skills to your skillset. We also help to lessen your post-production workload so you can have more time to hone your photography skills. To see how our photo editing services can help your wedding photography business, check out our price plans.